To those students quick to scoff at Valentine’s Day, remember — tonight’s date could be tomorrow’s “I do.”
For Joe and Joanna Volpe, both 2005 graduates of Binghamton University, a friendship that was forged in the former Bingham Hall in the old Newing College led to a relationship that has outlasted the building it began in.
Their friendship, which began their freshman year in fall 2001, lasted for two years before blossoming into a romantic relationship at the end of their sophomore year. The couple wed five years later in 2008. The married couple, both Long Island natives, currently resides in Oceanside, N.Y.
“It was a long courtship,” Joe said. “There wasn’t any particular moment. We always made each other laugh, and we just always enjoyed each other’s company.”
The two shared many dinners at classy local establishments.
“A lot of our dates were super romantic — Taco Bell for dinner and a movie after,” Joe said. “There’s not one clearly defined memory. It’s just a lot of nice little ones.”
One of their favorite things to do at Binghamton was go to the movies.
“It was super cheap because you could get a student discount at the movie theater, so we used to see literally everything,” Joe said.
Joanna recounted cleaning up “the guys’ house,” where Joe and eight others lived on Arthur Street. Nowadays, Joe has learned the way of married life and cleans more often, Joanna said.
“I pitch in more than I did in college,” he said. “I’d say it’s more of a 50-50 split.”
After they graduated, Joe went to law school at Hofstra University and Joanna went into education briefly in Boston, but quickly switched careers and began to attend New York University to study publishing.
Joanna currently works as a literary agent, helping authors sell books and develop their work.
Joe originally pursued law as a practicing attorney, but recently followed his wife into the publishing field, and changed careers — to a literary agent.
“Ultimately, the law experience and education was valuable, but I wasn’t completely happy being a lawyer in the traditional sense,” Joe said. “It’s not for everybody and in retrospect, I would give it some deep thought before entering the law school world.”
As they recounted their memories at Binghamton, they asked whether things like Nirchi’s and the Ratskeller Pub still existed.
While a lot has changed since Joe and Joanna fell in love at Binghamton, many features they used to enjoy have stayed the same.
People still find “love” on the dance floor at The Rat (even if it’s just for one night). Nirchi’s still dishes out square pizzas and Taco Bell still provides an excellent venue for romantic dates.
Regardless, Joe and Joanna’s relationship is evidence that even in a depressed Rust Belt city, people can still find love in a hopeless place.